Monday, June 18, 2012

Go West V - Alpine Tundra

Forest Canyon Overlook, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
© Doug Hickok  All Rights Reserved



In the Rocky Mountains no tress grow 
above 11,400 feet... eight months out of the year temperatures remain below freezing, fierce dry winds blast ridge tops, and ultraviolet light shines intensely. The climate is so harsh that only small plants and lichens survive. Compact plants only a few inches tall send tap roots 6 feet down into the earth to find nutrients to live. Small animals like yellow-bellied marmots and pikas spend long winters hibernating in their dens among the rocky slopes.  

Yet visitors to the park get first hand looks at the alpine tundra world by driving up Trail Ridge Road, and walking along short trails to overlooks like this one.

In the foreground are pink granite stones spilling over a steep slope into a canyon. In the middle ground are dark subalpine forests of spruce and fir which dominate the valley below. And in the distance rise the snow streaked sides of massive Stones Peak mountain where alpine tundra re-emerges.

Vast distances in the West can be a challenge to portray within the two dimensional confines of a photograph. But a scene like this one makes it easy, with the receding layers of space, and the use of a wide angle vertical format... along with a Chocolate Chip Clif Bar to munch on. Yum.


24 comments:

  1. That's just gorgeous, and dangerous. Would be nice to see a panoramic view.

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  2. Great shot Doug....nice colors and depth.

    Greetings, Joop

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  3. What a fantabulous view, Doug. It takes my breath away!

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  4. foreground ∖ background: excellent composition

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  5. Gasp! I enjoy studying your photographs Doug. They teach me so much about good photography and how to find something unique in every scene. It may be the space, the dimensions, the lines or the colour. I file it all away and hope that one day when I have more time to devote to my photography it will surface.

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  7. this is what i can perfectly relate with ... a magnificent alpine scene! the essential difference being that in the 'real' alps you wouldn't find a wooded valley like this! there would be villages, farms, roads, ... some sign of 'civilization'! that's also what i like about the rockies and other mountain areas in america - the 'unspoilt' scenery!
    (re the architects of the second bank of america and the first baptist church in charleston - the former was designed by a william strickland, the latter by a gent named robert mills. but they were both built roughly at the same time and certainly in the same style !!)

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  8. and with all the words above i forgot to say what a wonderfully executed and processed image this is, with excellent dof, from the stone run in the foreground to the snowy mountains in the distance. a true pleasure to look at ...

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  9. That is a stunning image Doug and really does give the perspective of the distances. Wonderful!

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  10. That's my favorite part of Colorado. Great capture!

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  11. Very pretty!
    Have a great new week Doug :)

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  12. The strong foreground and the deep shadow between the foreground and mountain make this a deelightful image.

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  13. Awesome! I want to be here. :)

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  14. Majestic view! I like the color and texture of the granite stones.

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  15. An iconic image that makes our "mountains" at 3000 feet look insignificant.

    Good to see all the images from your anniversary trip, I'm sure it was a great trip for you and Becky.

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  16. Speechless!
    The pine trees divide the hot granite stones and the cool blue mountains beautifully.
    You captured the beauty of American great landscape and also the essence of Eastern philosophy, eh?!
    Yes, like yin and yang.

    Ha, it was a "snap and go" walk, so the Coyote did succeed this time.
    But it took me six hours to finish to walk!

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  17. Love how you made this shot with a close up of the rocks.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  18. Wow, I love the sharp diagonal demarcation in this shot between rocky slope in the foreground and lush greens in the distance. Beautifully shot Doug!

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  19. holy crap, I'm getting vertigo just looking down!

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  20. Magnificent rocks. A great foreground.

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  21. Beautiful landscape and perfect composition with three layers: rocks, forest and moutain. Nicely done.
    Have a nice day.

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  22. yep, that's a perfect place to take a snack from.. :) very nice shot!

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